YOKOSUKA, Japan – Petty Officer 3rd Class Styx Horne, a native of Fairfield, joined the U.S. Navy to travel and see the world.
Now, six years later and half a world away, Horne serves with Fleet Activities Yokosuka, supporting the Navy’s mission in one of the world’s busiest maritime regions as part of U.S. 7th Fleet.
“It’s awesome being here because I get to see so many different places and things that I wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else,” said Horne. “The food, people and culture are amazing.”
Horne, a 2011 graduate of Fairfield High School who was then known as Natasha Hill, is a master-at-arms forward-deployed to the installation in Yokosuka, Japan, 43 miles south of Tokyo.
“I’m in charge of the base security, access control and law enforcement on and off base,” said Horne.
Horne credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned in Fairfield.
“I learned a good work ethic from my family, from my parents mainly,” said Horne. “They also taught me to appreciate what you have, which helps me in the Navy to have a better outlook and appreciate the job I have.”
U.S. 7th Fleet spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South. U.S. 7th Fleet’s area of operations encompasses 36 maritime countries and 50 percent of the world’s population with between 50-70 U.S. ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 sailors.
“It’s different being an MA here in Japan because we are the authority for all Navy and government civilian workers,” said Horne. “I feel like we have a lot more responsibility because we have to answer to calls on base as well as off base. We deal with car accidents and emergencies off base which can be tough because we’re in a foreign country.”
With more than 50 percent of the world’s shipping tonnage and a third of the world’s crude oil passing through the region, the United States has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world. The Navy’s presence in Yokosuka is part of that long-standing commitment, explained Navy officials.
“The Navy is forward-deployed to provide security and strengthen relationships in a free and open Indo-Pacific. It’s not just the ships and aircraft that have shown up to prevent conflict and promote peace,” said Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. “It is, and will continue to be our people who define the role our Navy plays around the world. People who’ve made a choice, and have the will and strength of character to make a difference.”
Fleet Activities Yokosuka comprises 568 acres and is located at the entrance of Tokyo Bay, approximately 18 miles south of Yokohama. It is the largest overseas U.S. Naval installation in the world and is considered to be one of the most strategically important bases in the U.S. military.
Yokosuka boasts some of the largest and best of everything the Navy has to offer, according to Navy officials. More than 50 forward-deployed commands in Yokosuka support crucial operating forces, including military units from the United States Seventh Fleet, Commander Destroyer Squadron 15 and the only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76).
The challenge of providing extended service to the fleet overseas is met in a high operating tempo thanks to an exceptional U.S. and Japanese workforce, Navy officials explained. Yokosuka’s strategic location and support capabilities allow operating forces to be 17 days closer to locations in Asia than their counterparts based in the continental United States.
Serving in the Navy means Horne is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea.
“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Horne is most proud of being that positive role model for friends and family at home.
“I’m proud of what I do, I want people back home to see I’m proud so I can be a good example,” said Horne.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Horne and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“The Navy means a lot to me, it’s a great career,” said Horne. “I enjoy serving in the Navy because I feel like there’s always a forward momentum.”